The medical-, healthcare- and pharmaceutical industries are all dependent on people — current and future patients. Hospitals and healthcare-related companies, thus, account for attracting new clients, which is achieved, among other things, through running successful marketing campaigns. Although traditional marketing methods (in most cases, print advertisements) are still alive; in the digital era, it is not enough.
Why does your hospital need a website?
Healthcare is an industry tailor-made for content marketing, for customers will always have questions to be answered. And why not do it in an effective manner — on your own website? Creating an online platform is exactly what taking a reasonable course using one’s best endeavors means. This need for the online presence can be explained by the number of reasons:
- Long lines of reception
- Long waits for lab results
- High levels of medical appointment fees
- Expansion of epidemic and viral diseases due to hospital overcrowding
Evidently, overcrowding is the whole point. This issue, as distinct from healthcare pricing, is not too deeply seated and yet can be addressed. Any health facility, be it a small clinic or a large hospital, stands a chance of benefiting from going online. A successful online platform (a website) has to connect a provider of services (a hospital) with its customers (patients.) But what does this connection imply? It depends on what kind of medical website you are opting for.
What types of medical sites exist?
- Consumer education
- Disease management
- Clinical decision support
- Physician-consumer communication
- Administrative efficiencies
Each of these components is embodied in the concept of the doctor-patient relationship and, at the same time, stands for a specific type of a medical site. One way or another, it has to contain useful and reliable information. Keeping the quality aspects in mind, you can get down to the website conceptualization and building. Let’s take a closer look at the types of medical websites listed above.
1. Consumer education. Most patients are ignorant of treatment details and know not much about their current condition. To remove it, you can create a website that would offer information about disease prevention, risk factors, and tips on how to reduce treatment costs.
2. Disease management. This kind of a website will be especially useful for patients suffering from chronic diseases. Due to the “Ask a physician/nurse” feature that many web-based health portals have, customers can evade visiting their physician too often and track their medical condition taking advantage of the Internet-based technologies. We know full well how useful such portals are — currently, Vilmate is engaged in developing a Web application and a back-end for a mHealth app focused on dementia prevention and management.
3. Clinical decision support. Web-based clinical decision support systems as means of medical error reduction can help health workers access different databases. These systems would allow finding necessary information quickly to make the problem-solving process more efficient.
4. Physician-consumer communication. One of the most convenient ways to connect your doctor is via email. This can be done through either the eHealth portal or the doctor’s own website. In both cases, patients use a Web interface to send an email and get a prompt response.
5. Administrative efficiencies. Some people would say that this is the largest benefit they can derive from a medical website. Through web-enabled processes, health facilities and patients will save time, money, and even lives: filling forms online and computerized pharmacy ordering, to name a few.
How to make a website for a hospital?
Despite the fact that types of medical websites may vary, there are some general recommendations to refer to when developing and implementing your strategy:
1. Start with your brand. In the most general terms, the primary goal of creating a medical website is to connect people to healthcare facilities and professionals. To do so, you should consider creating and increasing brand awareness of your hospital by means of strategic planning and brand awareness plan execution. This plan should include targeting the right audience; advertising; creating a company name, logo, and slogan.
2. Planning and events. By putting its schedule online, a health facility can reduce the number of calls its medical secretary has to answer. Online scheduling and managing appointments via Web will, no doubt, result in greater productivity and improvement of the workflow.
3. Testimonials. Allowing customers to comment on the quality of services, which they have used, on your website, you are putting the results of your work on display. Besides, positive client feedback is the most effective form of advertising.
4. Contact forms, subscriptions, and newsletters. When it comes to healthcare, medical services must be personalized. And a website owner should give some thought to adding contact and subscription forms in order to keep the clients informed about all the changes and updates and to make it possible to reach the right person at the right time. Newsletters can help you share your content via email. If you send copies of the personal posts of the employees with their own recommendations, tips, and spotlights regularly, you will become more credible in the eyes of the customers.
The healthcare organization can address all these points successfully per se, or an experienced team of designers, developers, writers, and marketing strategists can help it stand out.
How to design a website for a hospital?
Health-related websites need to be modern and user-friendly. For that matter, there is never too much emphasis put on User Experience (UX) in medical website development. The high-quality UX design is all about ease of use. Following the above recommendations is great but, without a positive UX, it will be the road to nowhere. And what does ‘successful UX’ mean for a general user?
- The short website load time
- 24/7 customer support
- Professional Web content copy and shrewd color selection
- Good marketing content (e.g. pricing, advertising, product specifications)
- Functional stability and interactivity of a website
Generally speaking, strategies for the creation of an easy and efficient UX design must focus on meeting all the users’ expectations. It means that, taking care of themselves or their loved ones, people want to go online to navigate a helpful medical website and have a good experience.
Compliance issues in Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
A website as a form of “owned media” will always depend on content marketing, whose entry point is a clear idea. To communicate the idea, the so-called “owners” or “contributors” are creating content. All these activities, as well as a need for website optimization, refer to how the site looks right on the surface. However, there are some common pitfalls any health facility can face going online.
An Electronic Medical Record, as a way to track patient’s state and store his or her health information in a digital format, takes healthcare to the next level embracing nearly every type of aforementioned medical websites. Yet, this is where the HIPAA risks lie. Broadly speaking, to be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the health facility must neither diagnose/ treat illnesses nor use personal data for marketing purposes without patient’s permission, but at the same time, it should be constructed in terms of health care delivery.
The healthcare system is still likely to benefit from the use of EMR at all hazards. With EMR systems’ going forward, it will get easier to find the balance between sharing data and protecting privacy.
All in all, a well-developed medical website is not only about the informative content and nice UI/UX design, it is also about handling privacy concerns and letting people know about you. Finding your place on the Web needs a strategic approach. Develop and apply a content marketing strategy emphasizing your identity and competencies of all who are contributing to meeting people’s health and well-being needs through your medical website, and it will be a success!
© 2018, Vilmate LLC